"Rafting or Whitewater rafting is a challenging recreational activity utilizing a raft to navigate a river or other bodies of water. This is usually done on Whitewater or different degrees of rough water, in order to thrill and excite the raft passengers"
When a rivers gradient/slope drops enough to disturb the smooth flow of water a bubbly aerated unstable current is formed which is white in color, hence the name Whitewater
With its many rivers India does provide a lot of opportunities for whitewater rafting, especially in the Northern parts of the country, Whitewater rafting in Rishikesh being the most famous example. South of the Vindhyas, the best place for rafting is Coorg. With its hilly terrain and copious rainfall, rivers in Coorg crash down beautiful valleys forming challenging class 1-5 whitewater opportunities
The most challenging Whitewater rafting opportunity in South india is the whitewater rafting on the Barapole river in South Coorg. The actual length of this run is between 3-4 KM, but the rapids on this river stretch can be a class 4-5 (depending on the rain)
The entire rafting session lasts about 3 hours. This includes a mandatory training session for all rafters. Rafters are first familiarized with the rafting equipment and taught paddling and safety/rescue techniques. Every rafter has to go overboard and is rescued by his team mates, this makes people comfortable with water and also ensures all the rafters have practice of rescue techniques. At the end of the training session every rafter would have learned the proper use of the equipment and also the various commands that need to be followed. If any of the rafters are not comfortable with water or with the effort, the guides will stop them
After the training session the rafters proceed towards the rapids, which are exotically named, "Morning Coffee", "Grasshopper", "Wicked Witch" and finally "Big Bang"
Age: 14 to 60 years
Weight: Below 110 Kg's
Fitness levels: Moderate (Rafting is not a power sport), but please disclose all known medical conditions to your guides so that they can be prepared
Knowledge of Swimming: NOT REQUIRED
Attire: No Sari's or loose/bulky clothing, Shoes or Floaters (bare feet not allowed), Empty all pockets completely, No watches, Jewellery etc.
Minimum group size: 4
Rafting distance: 3 - 4 KM
Time for the session: 3 hours
Tariff: Rs 1200 / head only (As of July 1st, subject to change, please confirm)
Dubare is more famous for its Elephant Camp rather than for rafting challenges. Rafting in Dubare is on the River Cauvery, the river is wide and passes through dense forests. Dubare offers two rafting options for rafters, one an 8.5 KM run and another a 12.0 KM run (depends on water level). While the rafting here is not as technically challenging as in the Barapole river (Maximum we get class 1-2 rapids here), Dubare rafting allows the rafters to generally enjoy the river more, rafters can safely float down the river in the life jackets, enjoy the wildlife and relax
There are no mandatory training session in Dubare, first time rafters are explained basic commands and then hit the water immediately.
Nagarhole forest (also called the Rajiv Gandhi National Park) is one of the most popular tourist attractions of Coorg. Located in the districts of Mysore and Coorg, at a distance of 94 KM from the city of Mysore, Nagarhole is one of the best managed parks of India. Nagarhole derives its name from the several serpentine streams that abound inside the forest. (in Kannada, Naga=snake, hole=streams) This forest was the exclusive hunting grounds of the erstwhile Maharaja's of Mysore, in 1955 Nagarhole was declared a National park and since then the forest had the good fortune of having some of the best forest rangers the country has produced which has helped in maintaining the forest.
Nagarhole is a part of the Niligiri Biosphere reserve and boasts of a very healthy Tiger Predator ratio. This means that though rare, you still have a better chance of seeing the Tiger here in Nagarhole than in any of the surrounding forests. It is home to big cats like the Tiger, Leopard and also the Asiatic elephant, several varieties of Deer, langurs and a whole host of other wildlife. The forests are also inhabited by the Kuruba tribals. The forest is mostly mixed deciduous, primarily teak and rosewood. Temperatures at Nagarhole range from 33°C in summer to a pleasant 14-15°C during the rest of the year
Regular safari's are organized by the Forest department into the forest. Sometimes this safari is stopped in the rainy season when it becomes too dangerous to take vehicles into the forest because of the rains. There are government owned cottages that can be reserved on the for accommodation, apart from that there are several homestays in the vicinity of the Nagarhole forest that cater to all budgets
Location: South Coorg, closest town being Kutta. Nearly 100 KM from Madikeri
Distance from Bethel home stay: 10 KM
Traveller notes: As with any popular tourist spot, expect big crowds on weekends and holidays and very little on week days. Apart from the Safari, another good way to see the wildlife of Nagarhole is to take the restricted road that passes thru the edge of the Nagarhole forest. This road connects the town of Hunsur to Kutta and is open only between 6 AM and 6 PM. Also note, two wheelers are not allowed on this road.
Iruppu falls (also spelled Irpu falls or Irupu falls or Irrupu falls) is one of the most popular waterfalls of Coorg. Located near the Rajiv Gandhi National Park (Nagarhole), Iruppu falls is very popular tourist spot because of its beauty and easy accessability. Tarred roads lead you right till the base of the hill, from where concrete steps lead you right into the waterfall. The Forest department has arranged seating areas from where visitors can relax and admire the view of the falls. The entire path to the waterfall is densely wooded
Though the waters of Iruppu are rainfed, it is perenial in nature. In summer the waterfall reduces to a narrow stream but in the rainy season, the Iruppu falls presents a stunning sight. The waters of Iruppu originate from streams in the Brahamagiri range and crash down the Iruppu falls to join the Lakshman Teertha river. Iruppu falls is a part of the Brahmagiri forest range, there is a trek route that will leads to the Narimale forest camp and then on to Brahamagiri peak (Permission from forest department is needed for doing this trek). All the flora and fauna of Western ghats(elephants, bison etc) can be see in the Brahamagiri range. The endangered "Malabar Blue Bandit" butterfly is usually seen near the Iruppu falls
Iruppu falls also has significant religious importance, legend has it that Lord Ram had stayed in these forests during the period of his banishment. Lakshman, Lord Ram's brother, shot an arrow into the forest and Iruppu falls were born. At the base of the hill where Iruppu falls are located is the Rameshwara temple. According to legend the Shiva linga of this temple was made by Lord Ram himself. This temple attracts a lot of devotees during the Shivaratri festival. The temple also hosts the village market (called Sante) every Sunday.
Location: Near Nagarhole forest, South Coorg, between Kutta and Gonikoppal. Road signs along the way point to Iruppu falls
Distance from Bethel home stay: 5 KM
Traveller notes: As with any popular tourist spot, expect big crowds on weekends and holidays and very little on week days. There is only a small shop at the foot of the hill, the shop provides tea, snacks, cool drinks etc. You can also get a very simple vegetarian meal and nothing more at Iruppu.